Dear friends,

I think that as a community we are in need of some fellowship and fun, and a Sunday Halloween gives us the opportunity for both. All children (and adults) are invited to wear their Halloween costumes to church on Sunday. We ask adults to bring bags of candy so that after church the kids can “trick or treat” in the Beech Grove. If you’d like, bring chairs to sit on and a brown bag lunch. We’ll have coffee provided. The weather is supposed to be beautiful so come enjoy being with your fellow parishioners. 

Some of you may have received a text (purportedly) from me this week saying I needed a favor and asking you to text me back. It was signed “Rev. Patricia Templeton.” If you got one of them I hope you know it was not from me. It’s just the latest variation from the scumbags who send out fake emails and texts from clergy to their parishioners, hoping to scam you out of some money. If I knew how to stop it I would. Most of my clergy friends have the same problem. I think most of you can tell the difference from a scam email and one really from me. But if you have any questions please contact me before you reply.

We need 10 more bags of food for our Emmaus House “Thanksgiving at Home” project. Emmaus House provides the turkeys to 200 families and have asked churches to provide bags of the “fixings” for side items and desserts. A detailed list of what should be provided in each canvas bags is included on the SignUp Genius. The bags should be at the church by November 16. Here is the link to sign up:

We have received new copies of the Forward Movement Day by Day (booklets of daily devotionals) for November — January. They can be picked up in the narthex. If you. would like one mailed to you instead let me know.
Finally, this week you should have received in the mail a stewardship package, including a pledge card. We think we have the most up-to-date addresses for everyone, but if you didn’t received the packet please let me know and we will get one to you. Pasted below is our Senior Warden Bob Longino’s stewardship remarks from last Sunday.

The service sheet for this Sunday is attached.

From Bob Longino 

     I am excited. Fall is finally here. Chilly days bring comfort and joy to me.

     I love college football. So, go Georgia Bulldawgs! The Braves are in the World Series. And leaves are changing color in the Appalachians.
     Fall also means the annual church stewardship drive. Pledge cards are in the mail. Please return them to the church by Nov. 21. To be truthful, this year I am especially enthusiastic about pledge time. We have great opportunity at St. Dunstan’s. We have a mission that I believe we all buy into.

     I first came to St. Dunstan’s about 17 years ago. I didn’t know much about the place. I knew Patricia. I knew Lynn and Wayne Hood. Tricia, Lynn and I went to college together.

     I knew St. Dunstan’s had a great choir and that beautiful music was important here. I could hear that.

     I knew this place was beautiful and honored the nature God created on Earth. I could see that.

     But I was completely ignorant of what I call the third arm of this church – its dedication to Outreach and the joy that comes with helping others through hands-on work and monetary gifts that so often change lives.

     The first time I served on the vestry I knew I didn’t know anything and at the parish hall table where we held monthly meetings I’d sit at the far end of that table – to sort of observe and take it all in.

     Pretty quickly, Nancy Elliott, who was serving as treasurer, started sitting next to me. Now if you were fortunate enough to really know Nancy, God rest her soul, you knew she, like many great parishioners here, was quite opinionated. She was smart, too.

     No matter what issue or subject or opportunity arose during vestry, Nancy would tell me quietly how each fit into the history and legacy of St. Dunstan’s. On Outreach, she said that was something embedded into the soul of the church and one of our most important pillars. Nancy said it doesn’t mean proselytizing; it means the essence of Christianity. Do without expectation. Give without requiring anything in return.

     Later, when I worked for Habitat for Humanity International, Jimmy Carter helped me understand the power of selfless giving. When you give your time, talents and money to profoundly help those people in need, he said there is in fact a return to you – unfathomable joy.

     I still remember the time I spent visiting with three young orphan brothers in Mozambique. When Habitat found the boys, they were living under a large tree limb in the rural countryside. It was their only shelter. We helped them build a house. I interviewed them for a Habitat story.

     As I walked toward the Habitat car to leave, they called out to me. When I turned around, there they stood, each holding up a piece of fruit, gifts from their only fruit tree. They possessed so little but gave me the best of what they had.

     At St. Dunstan’s, you and your generosity have helped so many people. Through food banks, Christmas gifts, offering our church as a home to the homeless, yearly donations to a seminary in Tanzania, and donations to eliminate $6.1 million in medical debt for those in need.

     Just this month, Tricia shared with us photos and reminisces from the family of Ibrahim and Sana Dallou, the Syrian refugees we helped sponsor a few years ago. Every time I think of them, I remember the vision of pure destruction in Aleppo. You helped that family learn English. You took them to the doctor and dentist. You paid for their driving lessons. And maybe best of all, we shared a meal with them in our parish hall to break the fast of Ramadan.

     That is called being Christian.

     This month, Ibrahim and Sana took oaths to become U.S. citizens.

     We have great opportunity to do more. We’re talking about sponsoring Afghan families new to the U.S. We also may develop a multi-year Outreach project through your donations and donations from a new annual trust fund bequest from departed parishioner Joni House.

     Outreach means a lot at St. Dunstan’s. I hope you continue to be generous with your time, talents and cash donations. Gocd calls you to do so.

     Thank you so much for all you do. God bless you.

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